Scots living standards will be 'hit hard' after Brexit transition

Mike Russell said Brexit will hit Scots living standardsMike Russell said Brexit will hit Scots living standards
Mike Russell said Brexit will hit Scots living standards
Jobs and living standards in Scotland will be "hit hard" when the Brexit transition period ends - even if an 11th hour trade deal is secured, MSPs have been told.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell warned today that Scots can also look forward to long queues when they go on holiday in Europe in future and food prices will go up.

He branded the UK Government "reckless and arrogant" over the refusal to extend the transition period which is due to finish at the end of this year.

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Mr Russell said the decision of France to temporarily halt freight between the UK and the continent this week underlined the dependence of British supply chains on the "closest of trading links” with the EU.

And as UK and EU negotiators race to reach a trade deal in the next eight days, Mr Russell warned that the disruption will resume if no agreement is struck. He told MSPs in a Holyrood statement this would be a "lunatic prospect."

"There will be - no deal or low deal - a diminution in our safety and protection in regard to law and order, given the withdrawal from us of the Schengen information system which means Police Scotland will be less able to combat criminality at speed,” he said.

"We will also lose access to theEuropean arrest warrant which means it will be far harder to ensure that foreign criminals face justice in Scotland.”

Food and environment standards would also face a threat.

He added: "Food prices will rise no deal or low deal and range and availability may be affected."

It will also become harder for Scots to live and work in the European Union, with visas required for prolonged stays overseas.

"Even a simple holiday, something we took for granted for so long, there will be longer queues at borders and paying more for health insurance."

Key Scottish sectors will face labour shortages and this will worsen as the fruit growing season gets underway, with GDP also likely to be lower than it would have been with continued EU membership.

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"Regardless of whether we exit transition with a low deal or a no deal jobs and living standards will be hit hard," Mr Russell said.

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